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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

ISL a great league for Forlan but changes needed

sports Updated: Dec 03, 2016 19:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Diego Forlan admitted he has really enjoyed his time in India as the marquee player of Mumbai City FC in the third edition of the Indian Super League.

Having won trophies with Manchester United in the English Premier League and Atletico Madrid and Villarreal in La Liga, Forlan brought a wealth of knowledge to the set-up of Mumbai City, helping them qualify to the knockout stages of ISL for the first time since inception.

With qualification achieved well in advance, Mumbai City players have been able to rest before their final group stage match against Delhi Dynamos at Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.

But that does not bode well for Forlan. In fact, he said he has enjoyed the compact scheduling structure of the league.

“I don’t like it now that we are resting, I prefer playing. When you are resting, you start thinking, ‘I came here to play, not to rest’. So it’s nice to get to play many games in a league like this, “ said Forlan at a media interaction alongside Mumbai City FC teammate and Indian national team captain Sunil Chhetri on Tuesday.

“Of course, sometimes you have to rest but I prefer having many games to play close to each other. My way of doing things is to always train and always work,” said the two-time Pichichi Trophy winner.

While he does enjoy the fast-paced format of the ISL, he said the situation between ISL and I-League should be sorted out at the earliest, suggesting a merger.

“Some of the Indian players play in the ISL, but not everybody gets the chance. Sunil (Chhetri) is playing for about eight months. But changing from one team to another is not the best.

“It would be great for everybody to have one big league with many teams and play the whole year; that should be the idea,” he suggested.

Mumbai City await confirmation for their semifinal opponent with other teams yet to qualify.

When asked if he was concerned about playing home or away in the first leg, Forlan said he didn’t think it made a difference.

“When I was young, everybody used to say that it is better to play the second leg at home. But when I became a champion with Atletico Madrid, most of the time we played the first leg at home and the second away.

“We had a good team with (Sergio) Aguero. If they scored in our home in the first leg, we knew we could score in the second leg and get an away goal to put pressure on the other team,” he said.

, Forlan praised the infrastructure and the fans in India.

“The facilities have been great and the fan support has been incredible. I haven’t been to Kerala where they say the fans are really great. But the place where we are staying, all the facilities, the pitch, everything has been really good,” the former Uruguay international said.

First Published: Dec 03, 2016 19:15 IST